Not one but two….

I am very fortunate to have not one but two work out buddies….

My Mom has been and continues to be an excellent friend, encouragement and work out partner. We are training to some day run a 5k although she, at age 69 is currently more of a runner than I. She will venture to the gym with me at any time of day or evening, but has shared that morning workouts are not her favorite.  She often reminds me of how far I have come and also reminds me to love myself for where I am at. I love the time we share together and all the conversing that happens while we walk or bike or ellipt (on the elliptical)….and I am most excited about the bike trip we hope to take in May somewhere in Europe….

Tonight I had the wonderful opportunity to visit with Shiloh. Shiloh is the new daughter of my friends Deb and John. I have known Deb and John for years and assisted them in the adoption of their daughter from China. They have a wonderful family of Jacob, Hope, Matthew, Caleb and Shiloh. Shiloh weighed in this week at 3.3 pounds and we marvel at every ounce on her perfectly formed body. Deb and I are less impressed with every ounce on our own bodies. To that end, we agreed to hit the Kroc Center every morning at 545 am. Deb lives a street or two over so we will ride together, work out together and delight in the moments, shared and celebrate every ounce we shed. We welcome anyone who wants to join us.

I am keenly aware that on this journey to wellness, I need accountability partners. I have come a long way AND I have a ways to go to arrive at my goal weight and wellness desires. I am thankful for people who will journey with me. I have a wonderful community of support. I wonder if you have invited people to join you where you may need an accountability partner. I do believe deep in my soul that we are created for relationship and to invite another into your journey, especially a place where support is needed, is very honoring to everyone involved.

“To Love Another Person Is To See The Face Of God….”

Tonight I enjoyed Les Misérables….

It was a delightful evening and I am remembering moments throughout the very rich three hours…

“To Love another person is to see the face of God”. I can hear the words as if the theater was silenced by them….what a powerful thought to reflect on…

Look down and see the beggars at your feet
Look down and show some mercy if you can
Look down and see the sweepings of the street
Look down, look down upon your fellow man!

And I find it quite interesting that When Les Misérables was published in 1862, it generated more excitement than any book in the history of publishing. I believe it still generates excitement today.

Perhaps because it speaks of poverty and wealth, sin and sorrow, grace and repentance, war and peace, death and life, and reconciliation….

A wonderful evening and a powerful story!


You know it was a good day if….

I saw this today and came back to it more than once. Often children say it simply and well. A perspective of a four-year old is direct and honest. If only we kept the childlike candor as we mature….

And so I got to thinking…what does it look like for me to be able to say it was a good day…..what does it look like in our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or older when we “hit or bite?”

Are you one who uses silence or a certain look, do you use sarcasm or make someone your upset with the brunt of a joke. I wonder how your hitting and biting look like in your adult life…

And with that in mind, I wonder what kindness looks like in your day-to-day? Do you live generously with your kindness? Do you recognize the power of a kind act?

May we all know ourselves as well as Nathaniel does and strive to have good days where we don’t hit or bite anyone!

And even more, I want to rest well at night because I have had a good day, where kindness was generously offered and brought a positive impact on the lives of those I interact with every day!

I wish the same for you….

Special Occasions….

As we wrap up a holiday weekend and move into December, I find myself starting to anticipate all the upcoming special occasions.

As I prepare for  special occasions, I enter in with an anticipation for something sweet. I hope for a good conversation or a memory of a funny exchange or good laugh. I look forward to a moment that I capture in a picture or a scene embedded in my memory that will always remind me of an enjoyable or glorious moment. Special occasions with my friends and family often also include thankfulness to God for His blessings and is often shared in prayer, song or sweet fellowship! I often go home with a sense of being tired because I have deeply enjoyed….

Then today, as I was picking up the countdown till Christmas ornament at Hallmark, I saw this slogan….

And with this wonderful Hallmark slogan, may I enter into every day with the hopes and anticipations that I carry into a special occasion….

How rich life will be if I really embrace that


Some great thoughts to think on….

Tonight I am reflective on some quotes I have read recently. I love words and quotes and thoughts….

I often think on them during they day and pray that God would shape my thinking with thoughts that are about loving people more or freeing my own soul to live more fully.

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite quotes and one’s that have shaped my heart, my mind and my attitude as I journey through every day living!

The purpose of our lives is to give birth to the best which is within us.
~Marianne Williamson

“Do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat.” ~ Scottish Proverb

“Love me when I least deserve it, because that’s when I really need it.” ~ Swedish Proverb

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine upon your window pane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near to you and
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
Traditional blessing

Farther than lands you have ever imagined
Deeper than even the oceans of blue
An open horizon is waiting like morning
Waking the dreamer who’s living in you
So now go with the wind at your back
And the sun on your face
With a song in your heart
And the promise of grace
Go in peace and in truth
And let love lead your way
Go with God
Go with God
Carolyn Arends Lyrics

Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill

No power of hell
No scheme of man
Can EVER pluck me from His hand!

In Christ Alone

“So I am praying while not knowing how to pray. I am resting while feeling restless, at peace while tempted,
safe while still anxious,
surrounded by a cloud of light
while still in darkness,
in love while still doubting.”   ~Henri Nouwen

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.” ~ C.S. Lewis

“Those who have heart have hope. Those who have hope have everything.” ~ David Armistead

ABC’s of Ikea

I am in a Holiday Inn Express tonight in Canton Michigan, anticipating a trip to Ikea tomorrow with my Mom, Sister and three nieces! As I ran out to my car just now, I did so in bare feet and couldn’t help but wish we were entering into Spring…

But we aren’t and I am sure there will be many beautiful scenes with the winter and the wind and the sunshine and the ice….I am sure of it. I keep telling myself that! 🙂

And so today and tomorrow I am grateful for the warmish temperatures and the clear roads, the sunshine and the experience of journeying through the aisles and experiencing the ABC’s of Ikea with people I enjoy!


A beautiful moment….

I hope your day held beautiful moments…

I hope you have a picture in mind that you would like to never forget from Thanksgiving 2011….

Today, our family experienced what I call “a hospice moment.”

The irony of that is that the moment we had today was filled with life!

When I worked for Hospice, often at the end of life, families gathered and sang together. Favorite songs were shared and God was glorified in the worship that occurred in that room, often around a bedside, singing of God’s presence, provision and Glory!

Tonight we gathered for dessert and as we sat in Suzi’s living room, we thought it would be fun to sing….

Arlene is magical on the piano and we began….

Let All Things Now Living….

Praise and Thanksgiving…

In Christ Alone…

Amazing Grace…

How Great Thou Art…

I loved every moment of the time we sang.

Suzi held Johanna (2) close and danced with her as she sang…

Karolyn(13) rested up against her Dad and their voices blended beautifully….

Ellie (11) selected songs and loves to sing….

Isaiah (5) who is somewhat shy, eagerly requested Praise and Thanksgiving…(every child’s known Thanksgiving song I think)

From ages 2 to 72, our voices blended and music was created….I love those moments and am thankful for a family who chooses to experience them before we face life’s end!

Ending this day of Thanksgiving with a song in my heart!


Thanksgiving and Gratitude….

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all…

I am aware of so much I am thankful for. And yet I am learning even more about gratitude.

I am thankful for so many people, experiences, and blessings. When i consider gratitude, it is when I take my thankfulness and wrap it into my heart and way of living.

I am learning that gratitude really does bring about change. Gratitude changes perspective. Gratitude changes lives….

It is my hope this Thanksgiving, this holiday season, this coming year, and each day that you have breath, you are able to choose gratitude and experience a true fullness of life!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. — Melody Beattie

Take time to breathe…

I feel busy this week….

Busy with the day-to-day and busier because it is a short week….

Busy with trying to maintain my home, meal planning and exercise habits…

Busy with my extra curricular commitments, that seem to include a number of board positions….

Busy planning for Christmas gifts….

Busy at work because of good things happening….

Life just feels busy….and yet, as we go into the Thanksgiving weekend, I need to remember to take time to breathe….

I want to enjoy the moments that comprise my day-to-day…


I want to enjoy the abundance of blessings I experience every day…

I want to enjoy the conversations, the laughter, the faces and the joy of being with people dear to my heart this weekend….

Sometimes busy and life just go together, but I hope that I never forget to stop and breathe and enjoy the moment that I am blessed with.

Somehow when I take time to breathe, I also experience life more deeply and I feel much more thankful!

I hope you will join me in breathing deeply and being deeply thankful!




I am thankful tonight for all men and women who have heard this amazing piece while fighting the battle….

I am thankful tonight for all men and women who have lost their life so that I may have freedom….

“Of all the military bugle calls, none is so easily recognized or more apt to render emotion than the call Taps. The melody is both eloquent and haunting and the history of its origin is interesting and somewhat clouded in controversy. In the British Army, a similar call known as Last Post has been sounded over soldiers’ graves since 1885, but the use of Taps is unique with the United States military, since the call is sounded at funerals, wreath-laying and memorial services.”

TAPS (click here and marvel at this amazing rendition of Taps)

The conductor of the orchestra is Andre Rieu from Holland . The young lady, her trumpet and her rendition of TAPS makes your hair stand on end. Many of you may never have heard taps played in its entirety, for all of the men & women that have died for you to have the freedom you have in Canada and the US . This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss and I guarantee you’ll never forget. Amazingly beautiful.  Melissa Venema, age 13 is the trumpet soloist. Here is Taps played in its entirety. The Original version of Taps was called Last Post, and was written by Daniel Butterfield in 1801. It was rather lengthy and formal, as you will hear in this clip, so in 1862 it was shortened to 24 notes and re-named Taps.

Lord of our lives, our hope in death, we cannot listen to Taps without our souls stirring. Its plaintive notes are a prayer in music–of hope, of peace, of grief, of rest… Prepare us too, Lord, for our final bugle call when you summon us home! When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and death will be no more.” From the invocation delivered by Chaplain (Colonel) Edward Brogan (USAF, Ret.) at the Taps Exhibit Opening Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, 28 May 1999

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